Weekly Medical Briefs
September 22, 2022
U.S. Embarks on Latest COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign as New Bivalent Boosters Roll Out
“With a jumble of confusion, eagerness and vaccine fatigue, America embarked in earnest last week on a sprawling new campaign to get Omicron-specific boosters into the arms of a pandemic-weary country.” Millions of doses of bivalent boosters “arrived with little ceremony at pharmacies, nursing homes and clinics across the country, ready to be administered in what health officials now expect to become a yearly inoculation ritual akin to a flu shot.” Early data “from states and several cities showed what health officials described as a robust early response in a moment when vaccine rates have stagnated.”
The New York Times 9/18
COVID-19 Linked to Increased Alzheimer’s Risk
COVID-19 has been linked to a significantly increased risk for new-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) a new study suggests.
The study of more than 6 million people aged 65 years or older found a 50% – 80% risk for AD in the year after COVID-19. The risk was especially high for women older than 85 years.
However, the investigators were quick to point out that the observational retrospective study offers no evidence that COVID-19 causes AD. There could be a viral etiology at play, or the connection could be related to inflammation in neural tissue from the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Or it could simply be that exposure to the healthcare system for COVID increased the odds of detection of existing undiagnosed AD.
Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 9/13
Health Experts Warn About Potential Severe Flu Season
“Health experts are warning the nation to brace for what could be an exceptionally severe flu season this fall and winter, as more people who have not built up immunity over the last few years mix and mingle.” The Hill adds “fewer people are likely to be immune from the flu virus this year because fewer people have been getting the flu over the last two years,” and loosened COVID-19 restrictions may also contribute to a more severe flu season.
The Hill 9/15
Boston Bribes Parents
To encourage pediatric coronavirus vaccinations, Boston residents were eligible to receive a $75 gift card if they get updated booster shots Saturday. The back-to-school vaccination event, hosted by the Boston Public Health Commission, is open to everyone 6 months and older.
“We understand that parents may still have reservations about getting their children vaccinated, so this event offers them the opportunity to ask questions and get information from trusted health care professionals,” Bisola Ojikutu, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said in a statement.
About 6.6 percent of Boston children ages 6 months to 4 years old are fully vaccinated, compared with 48.1 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds and 76.4 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds.
Most cancers can’t be reliably screened for before symptoms begin—tools like mammograms and pap smears are exceptions, not the rule. To improve detection, dozens of companies have designed single tests to spot signs of multiple kinds of cancer in blood drawn from a patient’s arm. Now, a national trial is preparing to launch in the US to see how good these tests actually are.
The new trial, run by the National Cancer Institute, will begin enrolling participants in 2024 and test how effective various blood tests are at spotting cancer in 24,000 healthy patients over four years.
The Hill 9/15/22